The Waxman-Markey bill wending its way through Congress will require that utilities purchase $1.25 in carbon offsets for every $1.00 they spend on emission permits (although its not clear whether this will apply to the free permits that are proposed to be allocated under the bill)
Broadband networks and cyber-infrastructure can go a long way in helping reduce the US carbon footprint. Estimates of 15-20% overall reduction of CO2 are possible through virtualization and dematerialization using broadband networks.
Qualifying these reductions as high quality offsets as per the Waxman-Markey bill will more than pay for a national broadband rollout.
On June 1st CANARIE will launch its long awaited Green IT Pilot program which will help Canadian universities, industries and R&E networks learn how to develop the necessary protocols under ISO 14064 to make cyber-infrastructure and broadband networks eligible to earn such carbon offsets.
The Waxman-Markey bill could result in hundreds of billions of dollars in carbon offsets.
Thanks to Eric Lee for this pointer on posting from Gordon Cook’s Arch-econ list—BSA]
Obama Adviser Looks At U.S.-Built Broadband Network
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
by David Hatch
A senior adviser to President Obama is touting the idea of spending
tens of billions of dollars in public funds to build a nationwide,
state-of-the-art broadband network featuring speeds 100 times faster
than today's technology.
While there has been no formal Obama administration commitment to such
infrastructure investment, Susan Crawford, special assistant to the
president for science, technology and innovation policy, has said she
is "personally intrigued" by an ambitious plan by Australian Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd.
His plan proposes a public-private partnership that would invest up to
$33 billion over eight years to build and operate a fiber-optic
broadband network reaching 90 percent of homes and workplaces.
Wireless and satellite technology would be used to reach the remaining
10 percent in the outback.
Obama and congressional Democrats have backed a $7.2 billion cash
infusion to stimulate domestic broadband investment as part of this
year's economic stimulus package, but experts have acknowledged that
gaps in availability and bandwidth will remain, with pockets of the
United States left with no service or antiquated technology.
Proponents of Australia's program argue that the government-subsidized
network promises myriad opportunities for online businesses and
enhancements to energy efficiency, media distribution and public
A chief concern here is that a public broadband network would be
costly -- upward of $430 billion. While U.S. consumers would benefit
from the increased competition and lower monthly rates, they would
foot the bill through tax dollars.
"I think it's a pipe dream at this point," said a telecommunications
industry source, who added, "Good luck finding the money in this
Other industry sources also cautioned that a government-subsidized
network might dissuade private sector investment, leaving Americans
with fewer options down the road. "You can't just build it and you're
done," one critic cautioned, emphasizing the government would have to
spend billions on upgrades and would be saddled with customer service
responsibilities. "The government's continually going to have this
'white whale' it's going to have to keep pouring money into."
As the FCC prepares a national broadband strategy to be presented to
Congress by Feb. 17, there's already speculation that the agency -- at
the prodding of the White House -- will give serious thought to
adapting Australia's model for the United States.
Crawford, a member of Obama's National Economic Council, raised
eyebrows when she discussed Australia's plan at a policy forum in
"Simply put, a digital economy requires fiber, and Australia is making
the determination that for that to work it will require a utility
approach," Crawford said, noting that Singapore is making a similar
investment and Britain and the Netherlands are exploring the concept.
"These governments understand that a wholesale network can deliver
massive social and economic benefits," she said, referring to capacity
that would be made available to carriers at reduced rates. (For a
fuller version of this article, go to CongressDaily's TechCentral at